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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)

TITLE: The Manuscript Is
By Jean Beier
05/01/10


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Chester looks at the stack of rejection letters he has on his writing table. There are a bakers dozen, totaling 13 in all. He gives up as he makes account of every, your manuscript is, comment. Then he looks at the manuscript and reaches out and grabs it, and tosses it into the fireplace.

While musing upon his own rejection letters, Chester recalls a quote he once read by Samuel Johnson, an English author who made lasting contributions to English literature.

“Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.” – Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

Chester ponders the quotation and does not fully comprehend its meaning. It is as confusing to him as the criticisms contained in the building pile of rejection letters that haunt his thoughts.

Memories of days and nights spent at his computer fill his mind like a big fluffy white cloud in the sky, blocking out time like the blue sky behind the white mass. He thinks on the time he has lost with his wife and the children, and the patience they have shown. And then he sees the love in it, as he remembers 1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV; Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. With these words Chester is filled with awe in his family, who has placed his vision and the manuscript, before their own needs.

The empty space on Chester’s table, where the mound of typed papers had rested, brings sadness to him, much like grief of a death. Tears roll down his face, and his heart aches with the loss. He is stunned by his own desertion of his dream and vision, and the breakthrough that could have been right around the corner.

Chester begins to do what he knows he should have been doing all along. Chester begins to pray.

God speaks to Chester these words, “Chester I created you. I created you with all you need to be perfected and of value. I have given to you, talents and gifts. What you are is My gift to you. What you make of yourself is your gift to Me. Much in the same way you have created your manuscript. What you have created is your gift to mankind. What they do with it, is up to them. Just keep writing as unto Me, and your work will be completed in Me. Never give up.”

Chester, with renewed spirit, walks to the fireplace, which is thankfully unlit, and retrieves the manuscript. As he returns it to the table, he hears a knock at the door. He opens the door to find the smiling postman. He has in his hand a legal size envelope with a publishers name in the left hand corner. Jake, the postman, requires Chester to immediately open and read its contents.

Chester reads out loud, “Your manuscript is …”

Jake does the happy dance, along with Chester, as the rest of the words flow out. “Your manuscript is very good and just what we have been looking for.” From that point on the words were lost in the joy of the moment.

Chester picks up the manuscript off his table and hugs the pages to his heart. He recalls yet another quotation from Samuel Johnson. Johnson said, “I would rather be attacked than unnoticed. For the worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his works.”

These words cause Chester to realize the blessing he had been given all along. The words of criticism, even though they included rejection, were at least recognition. Chester vows that he will never again give up, and will always include God in his projects. He understands that his manuscript is, and that is all that was ever needed.


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This article has been read 301 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/06/10
This is a great article. you really related to how many of us writers feel when the mailman comes to the door. I enjoyed how you sprinkled the article with just the right amount of humor.
Mildred Sheldon05/06/10
I enjoyed this very much. You did an outstanding job with this weeks challenge. Keep writing and God bless.
Caitlyn Meissner05/07/10
Good job with your article! The quotes you included touched me, and I enjoyed how your character was able to give his writing abilities over to God for him to use.

The only change I would suggest is with the fireplace. Why would he toss the papers into the fireplace if there was no fire going? It might make a little more sense if he threw his papers in the wastebasket.

Great job on a tricky subject. :)
AnneRene' Capp 05/07/10
This was such a joy to read and I loved the part where he he retrieves his manuscript from the "unlit" fireplace. Gave me a lol moment! You had many great quotes in here that ring true for me as well and loved the entire paragraph about God's gift to us and what we do with it, is our gift to Him. Also loved the happy ending!

angelos2 wark05/07/10
What an enjoyable read!
I love the Quote by Samuel Johnson.
Every writer can relate to this one! Well done.
Jan Ackerson 05/07/10
You've touched on something that every writer has either experienced--or dreads!

A teensy note: you don't need "totaling 13 in all" in the sentence about the baker's dozen.

Absolutely the right ending, very gratifying.
Kate Oliver Webb05/10/10
You evidently saw right into my heart, because that's where this story went. Thanks for sharing.